Sarah Clarke: After the worst of times, Queen’s visit a good day at UTV

It began as a normal Thursday - 21 October 2010 to be exact - and all I was told was that we were expecting a VVIP at UTV that morning.

Few of us knew that by the end of the day we would have met one - if not THE most recognisable woman in the world.

Her Majesty the Queen paid a special visit to our former headquarters Havelock House to launch our new high definition channel and, as it turned out, to try her hand at weather forecasting with Frank Mitchell guiding her through how the green screen worked.

That iconic shot beamed across the world - and as Frank reminisced even made its way into Hello magazine.

I was the newest addition to the Live at Six presenting team and I found myself in the studio with fellow anchors Paul Clark and Alison Fleming - preparing ourselves to be introduced to Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip.

We all had running orders in hand in case she struck up a conversation with us. Ali discussed with her Majesty her place in the programme which would - given its significance - be our top story.

We wore ear pieces so we could follow the Royal couple’s movements throughout the building.

In the newsroom correspondent Jane Loughrey was part of the line up along with news editor Chris Hagan and business editor Jamie Delargy.

She’d been with UTV 18 years at that stage and was tasked to compile the report on the visit for that evening’s news.

She admitted she was nervous and it was Jane’s words which stood out for me: ‘I’ve seen the worst of times and the best of times Ma’am and today is a good day,’ she said.

Ali and I looked at each other and remarked how eloquent and fitting those simple but carefully chosen words were.

For me it’s a precious memory and a day I was privileged to have been a part of.


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